Re: affordable cohousing, not "gated"/ Habitat
From: Diana E Carroll (
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2010 14:11:43 -0800 (PST)

On 1/23/2010 4:45 PM, Sharon Villines wrote:

$867.86 Monthly mortgage payments on a 6%, 30 year fixed, on $144,750.

I've forgotten how much mortgage insurance is but it would certainly
be required. Higher points might apply but perhaps these are capped by
the state too.

Your assumptions are off. Special mortgages are available to people in this income category, including a "soft second" which covers the 20% down payment so as to remove PMI. Lower interest rates, too. Of course, everyone's situation is different but last I calculated this out for someone, total housing costs for a 3br 40B were somewhere in the vicinity of $900 a month (including condo fees.) Which for this area is a drop-dead great rate, which is the point -- eastern MA has a great lack of affordable (not "low cost") housing. (Probably "low cost" too but that's not what 40B is meant to deal with.)

More info on the "soft second" program here:
There are also a variety of state, federal and private grants and loans available which some of our low income buyers have had success with.

This is why I think mixing market rate and affordable when people
really need low cost housing with totally monthly costs closer to $500.

We don't claim to offer "low cost" housing, we claim to offer housing affordable to people with "low income" as defined by the state. And we do. Yay!

Your claim, that prompted my response, was that mixing people with very different income levels made for bad community because of "different lifestyles". I have not found that to be the case so far.

They set condo fees? The monthly condo fees?

Yes, the state calculates exactly what the cost for 40b housing can be (which means condo fees plus mortgage plus taxes). So we work backwards from there, figuring out what condo fees should be and how much the houses will cost.

Outside of the condo fee, we also have a cohousing fee. This is on a
sliding scale.

How do you separate condo fees from cohousing fees? What fits where?

That discussion is probably way too involved for the list, but the short description is that essential site expenses (insurance, plowing, site lighting) fall under "condo fees" (fee ratio between units is fixed by deed) whereas more optional community oriented stuff (common house upkeep, meals, laundry, hot tub, internet service, etc.) falls under "cohousing dues", which are on a sliding scale starting at $5 a month (our highest contributors pay about $125, most folks are somewhere in between.)

Perhaps I'm reading between the lines but your tone sounds skeptical and your questions feel like you are trying to "catch us" saying something that would prove your point. What's up with that?

If you are genuinely interested in seeing how this works because you know someone who wants to run a similar program, or wants to buy one of our houses, I will be happy to share any amount of detail with you offline, including showing you our budget. If your goal is to prove we aren't doing what we say we are, then I think I'm going to bow out of the conversation for now. Life's too short.

- Diana
Now is the time for community........Mosaic Commons cohousing
Homes still available...........

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